Most parents and teens are going to argue. Many teens feel frustration, stress, and even anger towards their teacher, peers, and parents, but of these, parents are the safest outlet. Parents often get the brunt of the yelling and arguing back.
For parents, this isn’t so easy. They get doors slammed in their faces and “No’s” to many polite requests. However, that doesn’t mean that parents have to put up with the rebellion. Instead, there are ways to create boundaries ahead of time in order to reduce the amount of battling that goes on between parents and teens about the small things.
For instance, Jonie wants to stay up late and text her friends. She wants to be able to stay connected to her friends; her peer group is important to her. And texting is a fast, easy, and “cool” way to communicate with her friends. However, her father, Brad doesn’t want to her get addicted to texting as the only way that she communicates with others. He wants her to know the value of communicating in person and spending time with people one on one instead of through technology.
Furthermore, perhaps he’s aware of what some of the experts are saying about texting:
Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and director at Initiative on Technology believes that the excessive texting may cause a shift in the way teens develop. There’s a constant disruption in a teen’s attention from the task at hand, whatever that might be, to a text, back to his or her current activity, and back to the phone again. There’s very little ability to stay focused. More and more texting can disrupt a teen’s ability to perform at school, at work, and be present in relationships. For instance, if a teen is constantly bombarded with texting communication, and he or she feels pressured to answer right away, then the interruption to a thought might erase that thought altogether.
In order to help keep texting to a minimum late at night, especially on a school night, Brad now gives his daughter a 15-minute warning. Plus, they have both agreed that 9:30pm is the time to put the phone down and go to bed. Because Jonie and Brad have agreed on 9:30 ahead of time, Jonie has been more willing to wind down her texting when her father gives the 15 minute warning.
Movies & Music
Another common topic for arguments is movies and music. When Jonie has all her friends over and she asks her dad in front of them whether they can watch an R-rated movie, it never turns out well. Brad isn’t a fan of movies for his daughter that contain R-rated material. He ends up saying no and in response Jonie feels embarrassed because she ‘s surrounded by her friends.
Jonie and Brad have come up with a plan for this situation too. Now, when Jonie knows that she’s going to have friends over, she makes a list of 10 movies that she wants to see. Her father then goes over the list and lets her know which movies he’s okay with. Planning ahead has helped to avoid the embarrassment that Jonie feels around her friends.
How to Relate
Furthermore, Jonie and Brad have been able to talk about why Jonie gets angry. And understanding why has helped Brad understand her daughter and how to relate to her in new ways. When Jonie gets angry, Brad has come to understand that the anger is really a second emotion to the primary emotions of hurt, disappointment, and embarrassment. When Jonie gets angry, he knows that she is really feeling something else underneath. This father and daughter team have gotten better about talking about their true feelings in order to better get along with one another and deepen their parent-teen relationship.